Now we venture into the arena of commenting.
As we’ve been looking over some of the recommendations of successful bloggers, identified so far are the necessity of a good tagline and slug. We’ve also considered the need to clean up the page where visitors will stop for a good read. Should you have missed these, you can find links to them at the footer of this article.
But now, we offer one of those suggestions that comes from front and center of every successful blogger’s advice column, and makes many novices cringe… including me.
If you want more traffic to your blog-site, the most proven method of doing so is to become traffic on other blog-sites You’ll need to be more than just casual traffic though. What the masters recommend on this is that you’ll need to be a consistent commenter where you visit (arggh!).
If that’s not intimidating enough, even consistency won’t guarantee increased readership back at your own site, but intelligent interaction with the author will.
Let me show you in a couple of steps how this works. First, I use the example of a recent commenter on my post, Confusing Your Blog Traffic by Way of Clutter.
There, Marie comments, “If there’s too much on the site, people will choose not to look at all. So true. I have created a separate page on my site for the blogs and blog hops I follow. It really cleans up the site and makes my posts readable.”
Did you catch what Marie accomplished in very few words? Not only did she make my day by visiting and commenting, but she offered an answer for those who want to clean up their site but not lose ready-hop access to other blogger’s sites.
The next step creates traffic for Marie’s site. The reason? It’s pretty simple really.
Curiosity. If I want to find out how Marie’s answer looks in real life, I have to go to her site to see it. Curiosity may be accused of having once killed the cat, but it also drives readers to your blog. Not only the author, but others as they see you have beneficial words for their blogs (lives) also. Oh yeah… don’t forget, you need to make it possible to link back to your site through your comments.
We can’t leave this topic without giving an honorable mention to the famous “like” button at the bottom of every post; well, except for those who choose to not display it. Clicking that little “like” button lets the author know you appreciated their work, and let’s everyone know you were there.
A word of caution here though for those who have made an habitual showing of being a lazy liker (I reference only myself here… your likes are very much appreciated), never putting forth the effort to make intellectual comments. It’s much like the old church adage, “What you win them with, you win them to.”
In other words, the most successful bloggers all agree, “unless your only desire is to pack the bottom of your page with “likes,” then you’ll want to be diligent to be a communicator on other blogs. This is really outside my comfort zone, and I’m sure for others too, but in all straightforwardness, there are very few bloggers who will experience the success of building a big reader base without some laborious networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc., have a post coming).
There’s a neat concept of wisdom that possibly makes this a little less painful though. Remember, “bloggers don’t compete with bloggers for traffic.” I hope you caught that, for in that sentence is the path to understanding that bloggers build relationships with bloggers and enhance their traffic while doing so.
This particular post isn’t about the content we present (a work in progress), but it is only fair to mention here that when a reader is attracted to your site, there must be something there to bring them back. In the future we’ll discuss how to churn out posts that do this.
For now, the question someone is probably asking is ‘how often’ and ‘how many comments?’ This varies and really is dependent on what you’re trying to attain. I like the suggestion to set aside 30 minutes a day for commenting. Remember though, these comments need to be thought-provoking, not only casual pleasantries.
On a personal note here, I can see where what has been said could sound like we’re suggesting cold and mechanically generated comments for the sole purpose of selfishly drawing a crowd to our own site. Not at all. The way to really come up with good comments is to invest yourself into what the author is passionate about. If you really have no interest in what has been written there, you will probably do yourself and the visited site a big favor by not commenting at all and moving on to another blog.
I want to close with something very important. Some investment of time will have to go in to deciding where you comment. This isn’t meant to sound mean, but if all of your comments are directed to posts with little to no traffic, then there’s no one to attract to your site. However, please don’t take this to mean we quit spending time with our blogging friends who are striving to grow also. We just need to consider some balance, remembering that you’ll be assisting these same friends as they use your growing traffic to attract readers also.
So, we may as well prepare ourselves; increasing readership will probably not be an overnight success. For most of us, it will be a lengthy time-consuming process with some moments of encouragement and discouragement alike.
In the future, after some experimenting with commenting on the more visited sites, I plan to report on how this is working for us. We would really appreciate any input you may have regarding commenting.